The Benny Goodman Quartet: Together Again! (1963) 2010
A1 01. Seven Come Eleven
A2 02. Say It Isn’t So
A3 03. I Found A New Baby
A4 04. Somebody Loves Me
A5 05. Who Cares
B1 06. Runnin’ Wild
B2 07. I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
B3 08. Dearest
B4 09. I’ll Get By
B5 10. Four Once More
Benny Goodman – clarinet
Teddy Wilson – piano
Lionel Hampton – vibes
Gene Krupa – drums
Label: RCA-Victor – RD-7618 [UK]
Label: RCA – LSP-2698 [USA]
CD Released: 1987
Label: Bluebird – 6283-2-RB [USA, Canada]
CD re-issue: 2010
Label: Sony Music Entertainment/RCA-Victor/Legacy
CD cat. #: LC 00316-88697720092-15
Producer: George Avakian
This legendary and historic recording documents the 1963 re-union of one of the most famous groups in jazz history.
Benny Goodman re-assembled his ORIGINAL quartet from the 1930s (Benny-clarinet, Teddy Wilson-piano, Lionel Hampton-vibes, and Gene Krupa-drums) to record a relaxed and inspired album that has the feeling of a late-night jam session.
All parties involved are giants of jazz and are widely acknowledged as most important figures on their respective instruments.
Despite the huge stature of each of these musicians, they play with such dynamic interplay and cooperation that really helped to define small group jazz as we know it today.
Benny is in his most inventive and swinging mood since his forties recordings and it is obvious that he is inspired by his old friends.
Lionel Hampton shines here without displaying any showmanship or lack of taste.
Teddy Wilson, the sophisticated gentleman of swing who never played a bad note, plays up to his usually high standard.
But the most surprising and wonderful aspect of this album is the performance of Mr. Drums himself, Gene Krupa.
Recorded at a period late in Krupa’s career, this album stands out as his last great artistic achievement during a time when he was in generally failing health.
Krupa displays amazing sense of time and taste as he swings like mad throughout the record.
More importantly, he displays a sense of subtlety lacking in his earlier recordings.
Thus, Krupa never sounded better.
Lastly, the sound of this recording is outstanding, and these players’ gifts can be appreciated more fully here than in their earlier, poorly-recorded works.
For the definition of small-group jazz, look no further than this historic recording.
A copy of this record should be placed in a time capsule so that in a thousand years people will be able to understand what “swing” is all about.
The music on this CD has been reissued several times, including once previously on a Bluebird CD.
This was the first full reunion in the studios of the Benny Goodman Quartet (featuring the clarinetist, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, pianist Teddy Wilson, and drummer Gene Krupa), and although they would get together on an infrequent basis over the next decade, this was their last studio recording.
In general, the classic swing stars avoided re-creating their past triumphs and instead recorded veteran standards that they had missed the first time around.
Krupa’s bass drum work (which is meant to fill in for a bassist) gets a bit heavy-handed at times, but the good spirits of the reunion uplift the music.
Highlights include “Seven Come Eleven,” “I’ve Found a New Baby,” “Runnin’ Wild,” and the blues “Four Once More.”
~Scott Yanow [AllMusic]